Tuesday, November 30, 2010

With Hope There Is Healing

For the first time in what must be five weeks, when I stepped out of bed, my heel didn't object. Yes, it was still all wrapped up, but that hasn't seemed to matter much. Since injuring it, first thing in the morning, limping about was my only mode of operation.

This morning, the phrase -- With Hope There Is Healing -- flashed into my mind. And I then thought of how lucky I am, it's just a heel. It's not cancer. It's not stroke. It's not something wrong with one of my children.

But even so, when faced with the most most horrible of situations:
With hope, there is healing.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Revolution

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

Revolution in five days. Ten months in the planning, and in six days it will be over.

...poof... really?

As the old shampoo ad goes, will the 400 youth and their chaperons then tell two friends, and so on and so on... and so on... Will we rock their complacent boats and change the world? Will we set up a wave of community service that will rumble through Metrowest? beyond?

I told my class, give me this day -- and we will change the world. Their expressions told me they weren't so sure. So I asked them, "Have I ever steered you wrong?" The answer came back, "No."

five days

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Motif One

Motif One is a world famous building on the docks in Rockport, MA.

The Cinderella Castle is my Motif One. For I never grow tired of photographing this building. Every trip we take, I capture hundreds of images of this place where dreams come true.

And I ask myself, why? What does this one building mean to me?
For I am well beyond the wishing princess age.

Or am I?

What's your dream?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

You Must Be...

At the famine, in email, on posters on classroom walls, other blogs, Gandhi's quote, "You must be the change you want to see in the world." is everywhere. And when I commented on it, misquoting it by flubbing the first phrase, I was reminded that these three words are the most important words in the quote: You Must Be.
You must be the change you want to see, in your world. What is the change you want to see? What is the change that I want to be?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Famine: Halftime

Today's community service project was to sort and rack clothing at the local church thrift store. As the afternoon wore on, the hunger pangs rose, and my feet grew tired from standing, I remembered the many who have no money for warm clothes, no place to sit, no meal in the foreseeable future. Broth for dinner, and then back to the group to make rosary bracelets. A warm bed this evening will move the fast along quickly. But what of those people who won't have a warm bed tonight, or any night?

My prayers are with you.

Relations Near and Far

Our first snowless Christmas in Florida, Pepere introduced us to turduken. A massive undertaking; he planned, prepared and cooked for weeks. Then seven years ago, my sister-in-law, for my brother's 40th invited a chef into their home, along with the rest of the family, to prepare a feast; a turduken was mentioned. But due to time constraints, (Unlike the family, the chef was not into a sleepover...) other fanciful dishes were prepared.

But the turduken seed was sown. That following Thanksgiving, two weeks later, was the first of the annual trifectas. The entire process videotaped from initial incision to service. Where now, we resort to a few well placed photos to remember the event. And yes, 50 year olds still play with their food...

As we gathered Wednesday, and then feasted on Thursday, I couldn't help but smile for the family that was present, but also while remembering those unable to be with us. Nana would have been proud. Instead of using a peanut butter bucket and soup ladle, her punch was served from a very fancy bowl.

See, Nana, we are getting better with age -- just like the punch.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

The turduken is in the oven. The house is quiet. The punch bowl is empty. The bro is washing up the last load of prep dishes; while I sit here pondering the blessings of the day. How lucky we are to be here.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Feast and The Famine

We are three families, whose freezers, refrigerators and counter tops are laden with items and containers labeled, "Do NOT eat until Thanksgiving." Turkey, duck, chicken, and stuffings for the turduken. Pumpkin curry soup, lentils and barley, pounds and pounds of vegetables for roasting, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, Indian pudding, mince meat pie, and more -- enough food to feed us and our extended families for weeks; normally.

All for one day; one meal, and yet my thoughts gloss over the fun and feasting, only to settle on Friday, the day after; the start of our parish's World Vision 30 hour famine. Thirty hours of fasting and community service for those who in their entire lifetime, won't ever see the food stored, right now, in my refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

If Traveling With Small Children

My Mommy Mantra: I love you more than life itself.

Until recently, it never made sense to me, how a parent could put the oxygen mask on themselves before assisting their children. After all aren't our children the center of our world? Aren't they always first, front and center; especially in dire emergency situations.

Maybe there is another way to look at it...

Maybe by taking care of ourselves, we insure we are there for the little ones we love. When the calendar closes in, make room for me time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dress For Success

Clothes make the man, or in this case, the woman. With reentering the work force, my mommy clothes don't see the light of weekday anymore. To successfully minster to the people I meet, I must put on professional sincerity.

Last night I was tasked with speaking to the high schoolers who have signed up to be Revolution peer volunteers. High schoolers, I have one of my own. And thankfully we communicate just fine one on one, talking, texting, email, even FB. But to speak to 100 of them at once; mostly strangers. I had to engaged them immediately, or I would lose them in whispered side conversations. What to wear? Not business sincere...

I chose to armor myself with my old and trusted Goofy sweatshirt. Five years ago, Goofy saved the evening when an April chill threatened my Mousie fun. Goofy, bright and colorful -- an entity unto himself but also an adjective. A high school ice breaker, as they listen about the Revolution and wonder -- Is this woman for real? Is she really goofy?

Yea, for real; doubly yea, very goofy; but not that Goofy. And the high schoolers -- engaged and ready for the day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Check, check, check... Can you hear me now?

Working on the Revolution: 13 days and counting, has given me the opportunity to model for my children how to attack a project: A little bit each day.

I can remember getting those huge school assignments and being so totally overwhelmed that I didn't know where to start. Panic ensued. Nothing got accomplished until something was scribbled up on poster board. Done. Not quite.

Pick, pick, pick... tiny tasks... little by little. Last night, beat by 8, I went to bed. But along the way I grabbed my knitting bag. (There's more than knitting in there.) And while waiting for my brain and eyes to realize I was now prone and ready to sleep, I sorted out the lunch rotation and put the finishing touches on the job chart. The sound and hardware check are today after Mass. The sound team is a great bunch. I'm looking forward to seeing them today.

Jobs remaining, and not necessarily mine, are: Registration and charting the table set up; and to buy more water and fruit... and to bake brownies for 400... (I'm sure there is more...)

The cherry is a dear friend's husband volunteered to pick up the speaker at Logan. I don't have to drive the gauntlet to the airport in the dark. YIPEEEEE!!! I am sure the speaker, if he knew of my fears of driving in the city at night, would be dancing right about now too.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"I hate CCD."

I overheard that yesterday, "I hate CCD;" from a scout, my daughter's friend, one of my own students -- all in the same person. It's kind of tough when the circles are so intertwined. But it is interesting too, for it gave me fuel for my next class material fire.

This year my class is on a pilgrimage. A journey to go deeper into ourselves and our faith. First we answered the question, "WHO AM I?" The answers came back: I am a girl, a boy, blonde, brown haired, smart, outgoing, shy, a son, a daughter, a mom (that's me). But then I asked, "What else are you?" And the answers came back: I'm a hockey player, softball player, Mexican, Italian, half Jewish."

We then watched this Skit Guys video called God's Chisel. Sure there is a touch of religion involved, it is religious ed after all, but there is that whole piece of finding out we are all made by God. That we aren't junk, but instead unique creations, and loved.

And we're on a pilgrimage. Each class we watch a little bit more of the video from Outside Da Box called Souly Walking. Two guys walking across America, on pilgrimage, to promote prayer in our youth. And it's hard. Jon falls, hurts his knee; can't walk. But finds a way to go on. It's not always easy. It's not a vacation; it's a pilgrimage.

Next class: It's more of Jon and Jesse walking across America, but it's more when we check out this clip: What is a Pilgrimage?

Followed by "What is Our Creed? and the students tracing their feet, both of them. On the first cut out they will finish the sentence: I don't like CFF because it is...

And on the second: When I walk in the footsteps of Jesus I feel...

And if time, maybe some quiet meditation -- all part of our pilgrimage in religious ed. this year.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today's Rolling Stone

The stone that will be moved today towards shifting Everest: Cutting sheets of cover stock in half. The activity is for the youth to trace their hand, cut it out. And then to finish the sentence: If I take the hand of Jesus I will... (Write answer on hand.) All the cut outs will be put together to represent water.

And your answer is?

All this preparation reminds me of a pilgrimage. For both are accomplished a step at a time.

Sixteen days and counting. Fifteen until I drive the gauntlet to Logan to retrieve the speaker.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

World Youth Day 2011

It's in Madrid. The estimate is for 2 million people to gather in His Name.

Last night was my first meeting for adult "volunteers" for WYD2011. I cannot believe how lucky I am to be going to my second World Youth Day. I'm speechless.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Devil Is In The Details

Digging deep into the details, will you meet the devil?

Idioms, aren't what they first appear to mean. The devil is in the details, initially gives a sense of foreboding: Don't look to the details! It won't be pretty. But in reality it is the complete opposite.

When a deadline looms, work through the details.
Nothing beats putting your ducks in a row.

Revolution: 18 days and counting.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day

I think I am mixing my metaphors... :-)

Huge undertakings, like planning and executing a middle school revolution (retreat) for 400 youth plus adults, when viewed as Everest-sized to do lists, are insurmountable. The scope and breath of the details is quicksand for the mind. Progress halts on all fronts.

But when you disassemble the mountain into little pieces, the stones, pebbles and rocks shift. Progress is made, greasing the wheels for even more progress. Slowly but surely the mountain moves.

Everyday in every way shift a rock forward; slowly but surely.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Life is full of changes

We make decisions, big and small, everyday that color our lives.

Not truly knowing where we will end up; we shift and twist. Looking for the best outcome.

Only to realize later, the destination, though important, isn't as important as the path that took us there.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

About a month ago I heard a story of an substitute teacher who was appalled by the lack of respect her homeroom high school students showed the flag during the Pledge of Allegiance. While she stood, facing the flag, with her right hand over her heart, the student body ignored the pledge, continuing their conversations, not even standing or minimally acknowledging their was even a flag in the room.

During a pause between phrases, she interrupted by saying, "Students, the Pledge..." insinuating that they should at least be silent and facing the flag of our nation. A lone irritated response came back, "This country sucks." Others offered their approval of the disdain by giving the comment a "Yeah!" for a tail.

Today of all days, the shock of their blatant disrespect catches in my throat. My thoughts are of all the men and women, who fought, and continue to fight this day, for our everyday freedoms. So use to living an entitled life, where we say what we want, worship who we want, study what we want, chose a job in a field that we want, live where we want, freely elect political representation of who we want, come and go when and where we want, that many are forgetting who bought us these freedoms: Our Nation's Veterans.

Men and women who put their very lives in harms way so that all Americans, even disrespectful high school students, can voice their opinions without fear of imprisonment or death.

Everyday I am fortunate to be reminded of those that made the ultimate sacrifice for my freedoms, and my country. Today, I will take the opportunity to pause and reflect. Really, it's the least I can do.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Folding laundry the other day, I was shocked at the length of the little one's pants. If hurried, they could easily be confused with those of her sisters. I'm amazed by how time marches by. And I'm thankful she will still hold my hand as we walk to school.

I never saw myself as one of those moms who glom onto their children; not willing to let them grow. But as the oldest is setting her sites on college, I do halfheartedly ask, "Can I have a sleep over at your dorm?" She doesn't even look up from her homework. She doesn't even need to take a breath before answering, "No."

I'm not ready for our next big step.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Glass Quilt

All you need is love... ba, ba, ba, ba, baaaaah... (Beattle's style)

The self imposed criteria for the next stained glass project was I could not buy any glass. That it had to be made up of the scrap glass from previous projects. And why not add to the fun, by having the scouts join me with projects of their own.

So last week, the scouts designed their pieces and picked out the glass they will need from my many scrap boxes. There were lessons on what makes a doable design. Advice to keep their lines straight and to handle the glass with extreme caution; it's razor sharp. After the meeting, I pulled out a quilting book, then picked through their reject pile, looking for a few pieces for my own work.

After the last three complicated windows, I wanted simple; no curves. And had been toying with making quilt squares. The beauty with working with squares is they fit together many many ways. After laying out a few designs letters emerged. L O V -- with a funky E.

The glass is not set in stone. Before the soldering, I can rearrange, shift, adjust the pieces. This morning I was thinking the O is too obvious... maybe I will change it to balance the funky E.

It's a process, therapy on the cutting edge.

Monday, November 08, 2010

It won't knit itself...

Recently, while reading a blog, I was reminded of the old adage, "Slow progress is better than no progress."

Nine months ago I started my first sweater. At the end of the summer, the back was finished. A few days ago, an inch completed on the front binding, it dawned on me, carrying it around in a knitting bag does not translate to completion. "It's not going to knit itself."

Six rows is a healthy "inch." The goal is set to knit six rows a day. In two weeks the front will be completed to the neck, then onto the a sleeves. With any luck and a bit of knitting this sweater might be finished by Valentine's Day, six rows at a time.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me."

A friend just posted this to me via Spark People, an online health and fitness website. And I thought I would share it here.

Something to ponder.

Friday, November 05, 2010

It's In There

I didn't fully grasp how busy life would become after picking up a part time job. On office days, I get the lovelies off to school, head into work, from there its run errands, go to appointments, then hit an evening meeting.

My knitting bag has taken on new roles. Transforming into a filing cabinet for take home work, a lunch box, a carry-all for meeting supplies, holder of in car entertainment, for I am in my car a lot, a book bag, I'm reading a good one now, a GPS repository, for I'm driving places I've never been before, and my knitting. When I need something, I look in my knitting bag first. It's usually there.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I've Been Robbed!

Not really, for it is all in how you look at things.

Last night, after a day of yo-yo driving, errands and a meeting, I went to bed early; 9:35 read the clock. With visions of being up at 1, or 2, instead of the usual 3 or 4:30, the last thing I said to my husband was, "I wonder how long I'll sleep tonight?" We both chuckled as we drifted off.

Insomnia is no laughing matter. It ruins people's lives. Makes people sick, and have poor performance at their jobs. But for me, it's the norm with which I have grown accustomed. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I slept through the night... until last night. This morning, when I was awoken by the alarm, my first reaction was shock, followed by panic.

I'm late! I'm behind!

Still, with 4 extra hours under the covers, I didn't want to get out of bed.

As far as being robbed; not really.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

It's a matter of life or death...

Lately, I've had Peggy D. on my mind.

As an undergrad. close to 30 years ago, I met Peggy. I was a commuter student. She lived in a house right next door to campus. We were in classes together. We became friends; close friends. Friends that would hang out together, study together, party together. She was never Peggy; always Peggy D., bubbly, always smiling, full of life, diagnosed with Lupus.

Lupus, as she described it to me, is a disease where the body believes it is under constant attack by itself. Where one tissue group is labeled an infection and another is the defender; slowly working to eradicate itself.

Most of the time Peggy smiled through a moon face, a side effect of the medication that worked to suppress her immune system. Sometimes it was just her face that would swell, where other times the medication would seemingly blow up her whole body like a water balloon. I remember one afternoon walking up onto her porch to her announcement of, "I have ankles!!" And she did.

There were times when Peggy was too sick to come to school; sometimes for weeks on end. At those times friends would gather at her house, bringing junk food, it's always fun to eat greasy fries in bed, and word of assignments and upcoming tests. Her house, specifically her front porch was more popular than the Student Union.

Time passed, I graduated, and shipped out to grad school in the midwest. Peggy was a year behind me, I can't tell you if she graduated; I don't remember if her illness held her back. Though the next time I have a memory of her was at my wedding, a couple of years later. Her gift was 24 hand painted ceramic Christmas ornaments. And I remember her saying she had plenty of time, ie bed rest, to work on them. To this day, and a divorce later, they are cherished.

Graduate school was all consuming; teaching, classwork, research 24/7. But two incidents stand out in my life, that 22 years of living cannot erase. The first is receiving an invitation to Peggy's wedding. Still a smile spreads across my face when I think about that day. WOW! Peggy D. is getting married. The question was posed, "Are we going?" Will we take the time to drive 24 hours east? The answer came back, "No, there is no time. We will see her when we go back in the summer. It's not convenient now." Sadly, the regret response was replied.

Then less than a year later, the second, when the phone rang with the news, Peggy D. had died. Through the tears, it was suggested we head east for the funeral. And my response, "If you couldn't celebrate her in life, there is no way I'm going to remember her in death."

We've all been there, seen that fancy thick envelope in the mail. Where upon opening a timer goes off. You now have 6 weeks to come up with the perfect excuse not to attend. And we've all been there, the phone rings, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes not, and the next thing you know there is a mad scramble to find black dress shoes, and clear the family calendar.

What's more important? Will you celebrate life or death?

I recently read the book, Five People You Meet In Heaven. And when it's my time, I hope I'm lucky enough to see Peggy D. In the meantime, we will be happily and delightfully heading south to a niece's wedding.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Good With The Not So Good

When you have maple sugaring, the good, in the spring. You have many many leaves, the not so good, in the fall. I think we filled 40 leaf bags this weekend, and there is still a foot of leaves blanketing parts of the yard. But each of those luscious maple leaves worked ever so hard all spring, summer and into fall to produce the sugar that is now being stored deep within the roots for next year's season.